Don’t we writers wish it were that easy…
I used the same author picture on the covers of both of my novels, so with the third book coming out next July, it was time for a change. Last week, I had new photos taken. I don’t know if any of you are reluctant to “say cheese” in front of a camera. It never used to bother me, but I’ll admit I was concerned this time around.
My original photo (see above) was taken three years ago. It was in black and white and oh-so-very-small and forlorn-looking on the back flap of the cover. The bad news is that a small black and white author photo probably means that your publisher doesn’t see you as the next Dan Brown. The good news is that very few people can pick you out of a lineup. Another problem. After three years spent worrying that nobody would buy my books and I’d be disgraced, I had more wrinkles than a SharPei. And let’s not even talk about the gravity issue.
So, where to find a photographer. Because of the potent influence of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, there are oodles of them to choose from. But selecting the right one is tricky, so I always rely on word-of-mouth buzz. This time, the buzz grew to a roar at the tripod of Kevin McIntyre.
Kev shoots on location in Sunland. It’s a rural, horsy kind of place in eastern L.A. County so far removed from city life that you'd think you’re on another planet. It was the synchronicity of the locale that made me feel instantly at ease. I’d recently been to the area to do research for a scene that takes place in Short Change. Okay, bad things happen to Tucker there, but she still manages to kick ass and take names. Sunland made the selection of Kev look better and better.
L.A. is a town where even the phlebotomist at the blood bank is still getting residuals for a walk-on part he did in a 1983 episode of “Facts of Life,” so I wasn’t surprised when I learned that Kev was a singer and had once starred in musicals, including one of my favorites, “Forever Plaid.” He didn’t sing during our session, but I’ve heard that he has a fabulous set of pipes. And speaking of pipes, he also plays them, the bagpipes, that is. He’s a member of the LA Scots pipe band. I have Scottish blood trickling through my veins. I'm a Smiley. My great grandmother was a McCoy. So I love the idea of bagpipes. I’d love the idea more if the sound they produced wasn’t so bloody LOUD. Bagpipes aside, I’m a sucker for men in kilts, which turned out to be the tipping point. Kev and I were destined to be together. I emailed him and cemented the deal.
I wanted to give myself a fighting chance with the camera, so Kev referred me to a makeup artist. In her thirty-year career, Rita has applied buckets of cosmetics to the faces of a host of luminaries, including dabbing gloss on Angelina Jolie’s lips and powdering the shine off of Morgan Feeman’s nose. I needed her kind of mojo, so I called to feel her out. During that initial conversation, she confessed to being the owner of a West Highland White Terrier. I’m a Westie aficionado, too! Muldoon, the dog who plays a bit part in my books, is a Westie! The news was too good to be true. And so it was decided, Rita, Kev and I in the hills above Sunland, glossing, shooting, and smiling.
Here are the results.